Repeat drink-driver crashes into river

November 5, 2015 | By More

Court House-entranceA 52-year-old man with an appalling drink-driving history was jailed for losing control of his car and ending up in the Avon River, in a sentencing at the Christchurch District Court.

Darrell Patai Wilson was sentenced on charges of dangerous driving causing injury, and driving with excess breath-alcohol for the 11th time.

On August 2 Wilson drove his car along River Road, which was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes and is in very poor condition.

He was speeding at more than 70km an hour, and lost control of the car on a right hand bend. It became airborne and twisted to the side, hitting a large tree before landing in the river.

The passenger in the car was hospitalised for a week with broken ribs, and Wilson’s drink-driving test showed a level 1202 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath.

Defence counsel Claire Hislop said Wilson had been drinking with his passenger, who was a close friend, the night before the incident and again on the morning of the incident.

It was Wilson’s 11th conviction for drink-driving, but the last one was six years ago, she said.

The passenger has made a full recovery and Wilson visited him every day while he was in hospital.

Ms Hislop said Wilson was very distraught, shocked, and genuinely remorseful.

Judge Alistair Garland said Wilson had 10 previous drink-driving convictions over the last 35 years, and his probation report listed him as a high risk of re-offending.

He was a binge drinker, who had had an alcohol problem most of his adult life, the report said. He had done rehabilitation programmes which worked until another life drama came along.

Judge Garland said Wilson’s alcohol reading was 4.8 times the legal limit.

He sentenced Wilson to 22 months prison, and declined a home detention sentence. He also disqualified Wilson from driving for two years.


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